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ORIGINS researchers have reached across the world to compare the experiences of families dealing with COVID-19 in a hard-hit area of the United Kingdom to those of Perth families, who have remained relatively unscathed.

A collaborative paper being developed between The ORIGINS Project and the Born in Bradford study in the United Kingdom demonstrates what can be achieved when large cohort studies pool their knowledge.

The two projects examined the similarities and differences experienced by families in their very different cohorts as a result of the initial COVID-19 lockdown last year.

“Bradford is a particularly disadvantaged area of the UK which has been hit very hard by the pandemic,” lead author and ORIGINS Research Fellow, Dr Lisa Gibson said.

“The population has experienced extended lockdown and high numbers of cases of infection. By comparison, the ORIGINS cohort in Perth, WA has been relatively untouched by COVID and has been fortunate to have low case numbers.”

In a yet-to-be published paper which has been submitted to an international journal, researchers from the two studies focused not on virus contraction, but the impact of lockdown on families’ day-to-day lives and functioning, such as financial pressures, their mental health, and feelings of isolation and anxiety.

“Both of these studies are looking to understand people’s experiences of living through this pandemic in two very different environments,” Dr Gibson said. “There are notable differences but many similarities in the initial impacts of a global pandemic.”

Further collaborative research between the ORIGINS and Born in Bradford cohorts is now under way to examine attitudes and perceptions around COVID-19 vaccination, as well as the intention to vaccinate among parents and children.